* Photo by: Michelle Jacoby
Ever left the cosmetics counter feeling deflated, annoyed, or just plain underwhelmed? It is intimidating to say the least to approach the cosmetics department for fear of the usual clichés. You know who they are, the unaffected girl applying her seventeenth coat of lip gloss in the mirror, the older dragon-lady trying to spray you with some horrible perfume or rub some cream on your hand, the overly aggressive salesperson that just won’t take no for an answer, or the dreaded clique of cosmetic girls cackling away at the last customer who dared to interrupt their conversation. Despite these stereotypes there are some very knowledgeable, friendly and professional sales people out there. Most major cosmetic departments carry the same brands, like Clinique, Estee Lauder, Lancome, Chanel, MAC, and Bobbi Brown and are the same prices, so spend some time shopping for your salesperson instead. Follow these brutally honest rules of the road, and you will be a cosmetic connoisseur in no time!
Look for someone polished, neat and professional. In this profession especially, outward appearance should be immaculate. After all, this person is going to be touching you and is responsible for keeping tons of jars and testers sanitized and germ-free. Make sure they use hand sanitizer, clean their makeup brushes, and sanitize any products before applying on you. Cleanliness means they care and take their job seriously.
Look for someone who’s makeup you admire. An experienced makeup artist doesn’t necessarily have to be the same age, race, or even gender as you, but pay attention to how they apply their own makeup. A beautifully painted face is the best resume for any cosmetic sales professional. You have a much better chance of getting a great makeup application if the person who is applying it can do her own.
Ask the salesperson about their work experience. Don’t do a full-on interrogation; however, it is perfectly fine to ask your salesperson how long they have been working for the cosmetic line so that you know the extent of their knowledge. Keep in mind that they may have previous skincare knowledge from working on another line or may even be a licensed esthetician. If you are looking for someone to give you a makeover or a makeup application, ask for their experience as well. Not all cosmetic sales people are trained to be makeup artists but are just working as sales people.
Be honest about what you want and how much you want to spend. It’s ok if you are on a budget, but just be honest. If a beauty adviser spends time with you, and you are happy with her service and the products she shows you then buy something! These ladies don’t work for free and have pretty competitive goals to keep their jobs. If you can’t afford everything she showed you, have her start a client card to keep track of your favorites and come back and see her. Everyone respects honesty. There is nothing worse than a customer taking an hour of a beauty advisers time and not buy anything. Trust that you will definitely get a bad reputation in the cosmetic department. These ladies have impeccable memories!
Be open to suggestions. If you come to the counter for advice, then be open to change. It is very difficult to help a woman that just wants a very similar variation of what she’s already using, especially if what she’s using is wrong. Be adventurous and try something different!
Don’t be a sample hoarder. Don’t go counter to counter asking for free samples. That is just annoying. Most likely, the sales people will lie and say they don’t have any, or give you a sample of something you won’t like. It’s the truth. Samples are for serious customers that are truly interested in the product or a reward to a good client for making a purchase. Don’t be cheap.
Build loyalty. The more loyal you are to a sales person, the better the perks. It’s a compliment and a reward to the beauty adviser for having a repeat client, so she will want to reward you in return with extra gifts and samples, exclusive offers, and of course the best service. So often people want to only talk about the bad service they received, but reward your favorite salesperson, and they will reward you back.
Be nice. Working in the service industry is a hard job. Dealing with the public and having to smile all day is an even harder job. If you have never worked in the service industry, then try to empathize with those that do. People can suck, so just be nice! After all beauty is only skin deep, and inner beauty is what really matters!